Echoes of the Past
Hearing about a historical event has a tendency to reduce pivotal moments to a mere collection of dates, places, and unemotional facts. For the more imaginative, there might be a faint echo of sentiment, generated by our sense of humanity; yet, the true impact is lost in the dim reach of years.
The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki has always been a part of American history. Hearing the history from the American side, I still wondered, “Why two bombs?” “Why bomb civilian targets at all?”
But it wasn’t until this week, when a photo on Muzu-chan’s Gate to Japan caught my attention, that I began researching the photos of the destruction that befell Nagasaki and Hiroshima. As amazed as I was at the recovery of these two cities (in many ways more advanced than anything in the U.S.), researching photos of the past horrified me.
Why haven’t any of the photos ever been shown in the U.S.? It seems it would have been a perfect opportunity for those preaching the need to eliminate weapons of mass destruction. More than that, however, such photos would have created a huge ocean of compassion for the Japanese people and acted as a deterrent to using nuclear weapons on any nation again.
Maybe the sheer gruesomeness of the photos was deemed “inappropriate” for school children. But if the Japanese could live with these photos, shouldn’t we?
As a schoolgirl, my heart went out to the families devastated by the atomic bombs. As an adult, my heart continues to go out to the nation harmed long ago and my admiration soars for a people who overcame in such a tremendous display of creativity and ingenuity.